Hard Realities

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Acts 17:1-9

“Become a Christian and God will bless you. You’ll be happy, content and prosperous!” Thankfully, Paul never preached such lies to Jason, the convert in Thessalonica who opened his home to the evangelist. As a result of his conversion and hospitality, Jason’s house was attacked. He himself was “arrested” by an angry mob, falsely accused before the authorities, and forced to post bail. Meanwhile, Paul, the veteran believer, escaped unscathed. Is this any way to treat a new Christian? Shouldn’t God have protected Jason from trouble, at least until he was more established in the faith?

Actually, no. The “good news” includes what seems like “bad news’: Christians are called to reject the world and follow Christ. This isn’t easy. True, the gospel has great benefits, not the least of which is the hope of eternal life. But that benefit is not primarily related to the present life. Jason did not enjoy his bad day, but I doubt if he was shocked by it. It’s only those who equate following Christ with increased health and wealth who feel sorry for Jason and themselves.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help me understand that when you called me to follow you, you called me to take up a cross too.